Monday, April 18, 2011

Bluebeard - Slacker Book Club Round 1

So a friend of mine started a pseudo book club via google group. First on our list of reads was Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut. A book about a fictional Armenian Abstract painter, Rabo Karabekian.

Rabo is disgruntled, passionless and a hermit by and large. His entire character in the book is my greatest fear for myself as an artist. He just doesn't really care about much besides his second wife Edith and his art collection. The book is written as a memoir from Rabo's perspective, it jumps from the past to real time based on what is happening to Rabo at that point in the narrative.

I liked the flow an ease of the writing and I liked to hate a lot of the characters especially Circe Berman. Circe imposes herself on Rabo because she feels she can bring him out of his shell which helps her keep the grief of her late husband out of her mind. My favorite quote of the book has to do with her dead husband who has barely any stage time except for a few descriptive lines.

According to Circe, this was his ultimate communiqué: “I was a radio repairman.” “Either his damaged brain believed that this was a literal truth,” she said, "or he had come to the conclusion that all the brains he had operated on were basically just receivers of signals from someplace else. Do you get the concept?"

Above was said about a man who was a neurosurgeon. Rabo seemed to connect to this statement as well, he saw people's souls as being separate from their bodies. Souls were vertical beams of neon light that got word of what the body was doing. The conscience was an afterthought of finding out what the body did. I found this part of the book immensely interesting. 

Maybe I'm not the greatest intellectual but Vonnegut's stance on WWII, didn't really affect how I read the book. I got how Rabo felt about the war and how his father felt about war and their stances defined their place in the novel but how Vonnegut himself felt had no baring for me.

All I will say about the end is that I did not see it coming. 

If you have any interest in art, history and some intrigue than I would suggest you read this book. If you do and actually read this blog, post your thoughts and ideas about it in the comments. I love to hear other takes on a story and it's point and personal meaning. 

One last note/prayer. To the Gods of Art, please let me keep my soul. Over and out. 

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